A lot has been said about the rights of the consumer. Thanks to social media everyone is a potential champion of these rights. That’s cool. I’m all about empowering consumers to push back against shoddy services, poor products and unfulfilled brand promises. What isn’t cool, is the rising level of entitlement by consumers.
On Friday, I witnessed some of this attitude. Here’s a screenshot that explains the entire story (click the pic to visit the source site/opens in new window):
So, because the person in question was rear-ended in the vicinity of a brand, she feels the brand has to compensate her. That’s not the worst of it. A pair of “supporters” have also lent their voices to the “cause”, threatening all kinds of things (Twitter trends of biblical proportions, setting up Nivea as a brand that doesn’t care about tail lights, etc.). Click the pics to enlarge (opens in new window):
Moreover, it’s interesting to note that on the blog of the offended party, the misleading statements regarding the deletion of the complaint have not been corrected (as of the writing of this post. A new post has finally been published acknowledging the error by the author). Poor showing from a group of people who claim to understand social media. Click the pics to enlarge (opens in new window):
The absurdity of this case is mind-blowing but it also indicates the ridiculous levels of entitlement that colour consumer rights. Again, don’t get me wrong: consumer rights must be protected and enforced. However, in an online conversation with Daniel Neville of Idea Bounty, he observed that “as much responsibility rests on the consumers shoulders to have realistic expectations of a brand as the brand itself has a responsibility to engage with and meet customers expectations effectively.” Read it again because it’s a powerful statement. Daniel calls it Responsible Consumerism.
You could also call it common sense.
And it’s drastically lacking out there in Social Media land. Yes, stand up for your rights by all means, but let’s not turn this valuable source of consumer power into whine forum. By doing that, we rob ourselves of influence and lose all those valuable rights. In short, we’ll be right back where we started.
So what do you think? Do we need these consumer responsibilities as much as we need consumer rights?